While the battle rages on whether processed foods with GMO (genetically modified organisms) should be labeled or not there is one area of the grocery store where you CAN identify GMO items – the produce aisle.
Crazy, right? No guarantee in the middle aisles, but around the perimeter you can have a much better idea if you are purchasing a GMO, an organic, or a conventionally grown piece of produce. This is because of the higher cost associated with organic produce currently and grocery stores want to make sure you pay the proper price for the item you are taking. So, it’s really not about GMO, but it’s helpful labeling for the consumer.
Of course, if you are purchasing from a CSA or farmer’s market, you don’t need to worry about GMO or labeling because you can see and talk to the farmer, maybe even visit the farm. Very easy to know the quality of food you are eating. Even more so if you are growing your own produce – no worry about GMO when you are the farmer.
GMO – It’s On The Sticker
But, for those that shop in a grocery store, here’s how to tell. Each piece of produce has a little sticker with numbers the check-out clerk puts into the register. This identifies the item for the computer. You can use these numbers to identify more than just the type of produce though; they also tell you if it’s GMO.
Each sticker will have either 4 or 5 numbers listed. This is your first clue – a 4 number code indicates a conventionally grown produce. If it has 5 numbers, the first number is your clue. 5 numbers starting with 9 means it is organic. 5 numbers starting with 8 means it is GMO. Pretty simple, huh?
If you want to avoid GMO produce, check the stickers and don’t purchase anything with a 5 number code beginning with 8.
It may not be the perfect labeling system, but it is one heck of a start, if you know what to look for regarding GMO. And now you do.